Melanie: I survived by being quiet and good

“I wished we had talked about it.”

Melanie, now in her 60s, grew up in a home where both her father and brother lived with bipolar disorder. At age 14, she discovered something was wrong with her father, Gordon. One day when he dropped her off at school, he explained the world would end that day. She began to understand that her father lived with mental illness when he went to the hospital.

He said some things to the family that he was getting interference with the TV by the neighbors and some things that were way out there. This was in the 60s where not a whole lot was out there about mental illness.

She is the only girl in the family, the second oldest out of four siblings. When her father was hospitalized, her oldest brother came home from boarding school to help her mother, Darlene. She remembers visiting her father in a locked unit at the hospital.